Our company, FIA, has been deeply involved in language education for well over 40 years. Early on, company founder Shoichi Kaneko helped popularize the Peanuts cartoon characters in Japan by composing an original hit song and creating a series of highly popular English language textbooks using a fresh, new approach featuring Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the other Peanuts characters. He later travelled to the USA and met Peanuts creator Charles Schulz, who was delighted to see his cartoon characters helping to liven up English language education in Japan.
At the same time, FIA was busy developing an innovative system for language teaching called “rhythm training” and a variety of multi-media English education teaching materials for use in the Japanese public school system.
After discovering a large number of Japanese public schools were unable to take advantage of these new
multi-media teaching materials due to a lack of funding and equipment to use them with, FIA began donating both teaching materials and equipment to over 2000 schools throughout Japan.
30 years ago FIA experimented with a “Give and Take” Language Training Club for both learners and teachers. The participants were mainly Japanese learners from overseas and English learners from Japan. The idea was for all the participants to help one another in learning each other`s language and culture; not on a 1 on 1 basis, but rather on a 10 on 10 basis, or at times even a 100 on 100 basis or more! The experiment went OK; at times successfully, but not always. We needed a lot of thought, effort and consideration to organize the learning network!
Building on these early experiments in language learning networks some 30 years ago and our ongoing use of “activity based” language learning since that time, we are excited to announce the start of our new Global Learning Network Language Exchange Program, based in the heart of Azabu Juban’s multi-cultural, multi-lingual neighborhood.
What is rhythm training? Rhythm training is a technique for learning languages using guided call and response that enables students to experience the overall rhythm of the language without analyzing or intellectualizing it. Grammar and vocabulary are learned through patterned repetition in much the same way that students learn their multiplication tables. This “memorization through muscle memory” occurs by actually speaking the language! The effect is a natural and direct learning experience.
Activity Based Language Learning! Activity based language learning focuses on creative play using the target language, as an alternative to a traditional teacher/student classroom style approach. This is an organic and enjoyable way to learn, especially for young children.
From Small Beginnings Come Great Things
Baby Buggy Concert Series
Our “Baby Buggy” concert series, featuring intimate, classical piano recitals for parents and kids, will be beginning early this Fall. This is a series of unique and very special classical piano recitals where parents with young children are invited to roll up with their baby buggies, park their kids in the front row, and take in great music together in a one of a kind “kid’s sized” concert hall!
One of the goals of our Global Learning Network is to provide an opportunity for parents and children of all ages, starting from 0 years old, to experience inspiring musical performances in a relaxed, nurturing environment. Our compact music performance space features a world class Steinway concert grand piano, balcony seating for kids and front row parking for parents with baby buggies!
One of the benefits of such an intimate listening environment is the ability to present music played on purely acoustic musical instruments, without the need for microphones, PA speakers, etc. Though our focus is on purely acoustic music, the hall incorporates state of the art video and lighting equipment to enhance the visual aspects of the performance, and will have the ability to both record and live stream performances over the internet, as a means of expanding the scope of our musical and educational activities.
We are currently in the testing stages of our facilities. We are slowly getting a feel for how we can best fit in to the surrounding environment, how the sound we generate effects our neighbors and the neighborhood as a whole, what times work best for language programs and music performances, what kind of interest there is for what we are doing, what kind of community support might be there to help us move forward with our project…. In short, a whole slew of questions and things to consider as we slowly get under way.
We welcome any feedback or suggestions, as well as any interest you have in helping with and participating in our new endeavor. We look forward to getting to know you and working together to create a community based organization that benefits our children and the community as a whole.